Music to my ears
What the classical world has been listening to this month Eric Lu
I would say that Radu Lupu’s fourdisc album of Schubert piano works is one of my bibles among piano records. Schubert’s music is so personal – a lot of it is so intimate and carries so much suffering, anguish and even desperation – and Lupu captures everything in such an ideal way. ★is charisma and pathos and the atmosphere of spirituality that he creates is so suitable for this music that it’s almost as if he has a direct line into Schubert’s heart.
John Eliot Gardiner’s recordings of JS Bach cantatas are my go-to choice when I don’t want to have anything to do with piano music. It’s just pure enjoyment.
It’s something that I often listen
I try and get across what a composer was thinking and feeling when he wrote a piece
to when I am walking down the street, and when I was in Leipzig recently it was in my ears the whole time! I’m also familiar with Karl Richter’s Bach recordings which are very different – but the great beauty of Bach is that he, above all composers, can take so many different interpretations.
On Youtube, I’ve been enjoying listening to Grigory Sokolov playing Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto in Brescia in 1993. I believe it is one of the greatest performances of any piano concerto, ever. It is phenomenal in every way. Whenever I perform, I always try to dig deeply into and get across what the composer might have been thinking and feeling when he wrote the piece, and why he wrote it. When I hear a great performance like this one of Sokolov’s, I realise this is exactly what he has achieved.
And also… My greatest cultural enjoyment comes simply through travelling around the world and visiting places. In Europe alone, for instance, every region of every country has its own flavour, from the architecture and the art to the people, the food and the atmosphere. My recent visit to England was my first, and I found Leeds so different from London and Liverpool. It’s all so unique. Eric Lu’s Leeds International Piano Competition-winning performances are out now on Warner Classics
Venera Gimadieva soprano
I find it really difficult to find the time to explore the music world beyond opera, but I recently went with a colleague to see the jazz bassist Corcoran Holt at a jazz bar in Washington DC. For a European or American audience, perhaps his music is quite familiar in sound, but for me it was so new and different! It was like entering a scene in a movie.
At the moment, I’ve been listening to music by Miyagi & Endshpiel, two Russian musicians who are hard to define in terms of genre. It’s like a mix between R’N’B and rap, with a musical accompaniment. I was introduced to them by my husband who is a pianist and has very diverse musical interests. I’d love to collaborate with them – opera and rap together would be amazing.
Because I travel a lot, I’m constantly discovering new styles of music. Last time I was in Madrid, I discovered flamenco. I saw Sara Baras, a very famous flamenco dancer, who travels the world with her tour. She
is accompanied by about ten other dancers, as well as a band. Although Spanish music is great to listen back to, to experience the passion of flamenco and feel their emotions, it’s far better to watch in a live performance.
And also… The Russian author Boris Akunin has written a series of detective novels which I love. There are about 13 novels in total, and I’ve nearly got through them all. They’re all set in Tsarist Russia, and it’s fascinating to explore this moment in history. The protagonist is a really unusual, quirky character as well.
Venera Gimadieva’s debut disc of arias by Bellini, Donizetti and Rossini is out on the Rubicon label Johannes Moser cellist
Whenever I need some extra energy and can’t get hold of an espresso, I listen to Ivry Gitlis playing Bartók’s Second Violin Concerto. The power and sensitivity that he brings to that piece gets me every time. I was fortunate to meet Gitlis a few years back, in a smoky bar in Berlin at two o’clock in the morning. We all got our Doug Moran, Colorado, US
I’ve just been contracted to play bassoon in a December performance of Respighi’s Laud to the Nativity. I had not heard of this piece before; in my quest to learn more, I discovered a 1960 recording by the
Roger Wagner Chorale (sung in English!), conducted by Alfred Wallenstein, including mezzo Marilyn Horne. What a delight. I’ve been enchanted by and infatuated with the music. I rarely listen to performances repeatedly but I’ve made an exception with this piece. instruments out, and somebody handed him a violin, and we played excerpts of the Schubert Quintet. It was unforgettable!
Every year I spend a good portion of my summer holidays in New York City. I used to live there for a few years, and since I’ve moved back to Germany, I am always keen on getting my New York energy fix at least once a year. This summer I heard the jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove for the first time live at the Blue
Note jazz club. I have been a fan of him for many years, and his album Earfood has returned to the top of my playlist.
I was never a huge Beatles fan, which for a lot of people makes me a bad person. ★owever, I love the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh by then ex-beatle George Harrison. The band he put together for this occasion is as all-star as it gets – including Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and Billy Preston – and the fact that legendary producer Phil Spector allegedly kept demanding ‘More Audience!’ in the mixing booth really adds to the excitement of this live cut.
And also… For a few years I have been living in Cologne, which is also home to the internationally renowned painter Gerhardt Richter. Not long ago he had an exhibition of new paintings at the Museum Ludwig, which completely blew me away. ★is understanding of colour and balance is remarkable, yet he is allowing coincidence to be a deciding factor, as one can witness in a very insightful recent documentary about him and his process.
Moser performs with the Bournemouth Symphony, 28 Nov
– 1 Dec, and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, 14-15 Dec
Bass line: Washington DC’S great jazz son, Corcoran Holt
Best Bartók: the Israeli violinist Ivry Gitlis